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Liíl Abner Celebrates 80 Years

August 13, 2014

On August 13, 1934, the world of newspaper comics saw the debut of a strip that would go onto become one of the most popular and consistently well-written and drawn strips ever. Liíl Abner told the story of an earnest group of rural Americans who inhabited a place called Dogpatch. Abner, simple-minded and sincere, spent most of his time avoiding the advances of one Daisy Mae Scragg.

A woman of stunning beauty and conveyed as such by creator Al Capp, Daisy Mae pursued Abnerís affection with a single-mindedness that bordered on obsession. For his part, Abner was oblivious to her multiple charms and obvious assets. When she did catch Abner and trap him into marriage in 1952, it was news around the world.

Written and drawn by Capp, the strip is considered by historians to be the first strip to be centered in the South. For many around the world, the impressions about the region as created by Capp would be their first introduction to America below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Abner, filled with satire, commentary and an imaginative quality that few other strips ever came near posing, went on to run for over forty-three years. The strip was so popular that at one point it had over 60 million readers and appeared in over 900 newspapers. It was so popular that it even spawned a strip within a strip. Cappís parody of Dick Tracy was Fearless Fosdick.

The strip became an advertising monolith. Abner appeared in comic books, on Broadway as a musical and eventually on the silver screen.

Today fans can read complete runs of the strip from The Library of American Comics.

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